Sunday, May 8, 2016


Gentle Readers, you've become accustomed to my interest in the birds of many feathers that visit the bird bath outside my den window.

Recently I had a hawk perch on the edge.

Once awhile back a big black raven did the same.

The Rufous Towhee and the finches and (SWMBO insists) the warblers are regular visitors.

But what to my wondering eyes did appear on this otherwise peaceful Sunday?

A REAL big  and perhaps strange bird.

I know it's a California breed but there also seems to be some Hoosier traits.

Yes, it's my dear old buddy Tom, the good-natured host of  the Light Breezes blog.

He's visiting from his home in California with his lovely wife, Lana, an artist and proprietor of her own blog.

Further photos of these two intrepid travelers will follow.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Our birdbath/drinking fountain continues to be an attraction to the many avian residents of the neighborhood.

The other day I caught the Rufous Sided Towhee taking a dip.

A while back a big black raven strutted over and hopped up on the rim and took a drink but I was too slow with the camera to get a shot of him.

But late this week I was in the kitchen when Judy called out to look at the birdbath.

I hurried to my den, took a peek and grabbed the camera to get this photo.

That's no sparrow, Gentle Readers.

That is a Cooper's Hawk.

Posing majestically he stayed for only a few seconds once I had my camera in hand but it was a thrilling few seconds.

Lori Down the Street has had a hawk at her fountain but this was a first for me.

Friday, May 6, 2016


I suppose I could lead off this week with "Donald Trump is the Republican Party's nominee for President."

But, funny as that is, nobody's laughing.

So, onward.

O.K. Gentle Readers, it's time to hustle along toward your historic fun weekend.

Just remember this one thing: always keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Back in the 1980's when SWMBO and I first moved to Mexico we found a house to rent in a small village on the shore of Ajijic, south of Guadalajara.

We began our Mexico stay with a visit to Posada Ajijic, a small hotel with a very active bar, especially at happy hour (which ran, as I recall, for hours!)

Ajijic and several other towns along the north shore of Lake Chapala had become very popular with the ex-patriates and the Posada was owned and operated by a Canadian whose name was Eager.

I've forgotten his first name but his son later had a new hotel built called the Nueva Posada Ajijic, which survives to this day.

But on that first night in the old Posada's bar I recognized one of the other topers as the legendary Jim Moran.

Moran was a long-time publicist and practical joker who, for instance, once changed horses in the middle of a Nevada river during the 1944 presidential campaign.

He was barred from a stunt wherein he claimed he was going to fly a midget over New York's Central Park in a kite to publicize a candy bar.

Moran's comment: "It's a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over Central Park!"

None of this talk about Jim Moran has a thing to do with the purpose of today's post although it might qualify under the heading of Throwback Thursday.

No, what I was going to tell you about was the annual chili contest, held on the grounds of the Posada.

Mr. Eager organized that, too, with the assistance of Ann Whiting, who was the president of the American Society in Guadalajara.

Several of our new friends won the competition in one of those years long ago.

Here we see Cookie, Walter, Bernard and Betty with someone in the rear peeping through whom I can't identify.

Their chili was named AMSOC Amistad Chili, meaning the American Society Friendship Chili.

From the picture it looks like it won each of the cooks a bottle of tequila.

I've lost track of Cookie and Bernard.

Walter, who was the father of New York actress Cynthia Nixon, died in Guadalajara some years ago.

And my Yellow Dog Democrat* friend Betty is still going strong in Olympia, Washington at the age of 90.

Good times gone by.

*The term Yellow Dog Democrat originated in the South during the late 19th Century. It refers to a person who would vote for a yellow dog before they'd vote for any Republican.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I cook occasionally.

Not much.

But SWMBO has been cooking for a long, long time.

She is a master.

Even with new recipes.

For example . . .

A roasted, spatchcocked chicken with lemon and herbs under the skin.

Sliced eggplant grilled counter-top in a George Foreman grill, then topped with feta cheese.

Accompanied by some sauced orecchiette (I did the pasta, whoop, whoop), garlic bread and a salad.

A meal fit for a king.

But not a cat.

"C'mon, man, where's mine?", sayeth the Blackwell.

(He always comes around and begs when we're in the kitchen but he won't eat any "human food".)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I was not born under the sign of Acquarius.

But it might seem that I was by virtue of my love for water in my travels.

From my very early days with Dr. Jim at Carlyle Lake in Saskatchewan.

(Caution for delicate sensibilities - there will be partial nudity in this post.)

To Lake Michigan on a visit to Chicago to see my boys.

To Kentucky Lake in, naturally, Kentucky.

To Lynx Lake in Arizona.

To a mountain stream in Colorado.

To Huntington Beach and the Pacific in California, with my longtime buddy Timmer.

To the blue Mediterranean at Monaco.

To a sailing day aboard the Sand Dollar II, with its captain Harry, off Guaymas, Mexico.

To working on a tan (and a drink) at a beach cottage somewhere further south on the Pacific Coast in Mexico.

To a snorkeling trip with Baseball Steve just south of Puerto Vallarta.

To a lunch with SWMBO and the BRD near the water in Baja California at Ensenada.

And a visit with Tom and Lana in Central California and a trip to San Simeon Beach.

Always the water has drawn me.

So now I'm an old man and what do I do with my time?

Frequently I'm found staring at the water.

Monday, May 2, 2016


A visit from a Mountain Jay.

And then, this morning, the Rufous Sided Towhee stopped in.

Oh, yes, it really is him.

They just keep coming in for drinks or baths.

As you can probably tell, they are holding my interest.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


The temperature didn't reach 60 here yesterday and it rained most of the day.

But that didn't stop the Goldfinch couple.

They were enjoying the birdbath for its true purpose: bathing.

One of the couple was a bit cautious while the other threw caution to the winds.

And water into the air.

Finally it became too much of a temptation and the reticent one joined the other in a communal cold water soak.

The tiny birds put on a good show for my camera before flying up into the tree to shake it all off.

All I could think was: brrrrr!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016


Had I been a wee bit stealthier or quicker yesterday I would have had a great photo to begin today's edition of the Friday Funnies.

My peripheral vision detected a large shape about ten feet from my window in the back yard.

I turned and saw a huge black raven on the ground advancing toward the bird bath.

He jumped up to the rim, bent over and took a sip, apparently spotted me as I reached for my camera and lumbered away.

Oh well.

Next time.

There's always this picture, which I DIDN'T shoot.

The one above is especially for Val the Victorian who has acquired an adorable new puppywhich is half Blue Heeler and half Dachshund.

Sometimes you never know what you'll get.

Well that's curious.

I hadn't intended to do an entire post on dogs and cats.

It just sort of evolved.


Have a fabulous weekend, Gentle Readers, stay warm and safe and always . . . ALWAYS . . . remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


The Western writer Zane Grey was actually a dentist from Ohio.

He came to Arizona to hunt in 1907 and became enamored of pioneer Western life.

He wrote several books which were rejected but finally broke through with Riders of the Purple Sage in 1912, which became his all-time best seller.

Grey built a cabin on the Mogollon Rim and spent several weeks a year there while on hunting trips.

He wrote in the cabin but preferred to sleep outside in a tent.

In 1929 he left Arizona, never to return, after a spat with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

His cabin was deteriorating until a Phoenix businessman bought and restored it.

I visited it several times in the 1970's.

It was nestled among the pines in a relatively remote location.

It was always locked up when I was there but visitors could peek through the windows and view the inside as it was when Grey was there.

In 1990 a forest fire caught up with it and the cabin burned to the ground.

In the early 2000's a foundation was formed and a replica of the cabin built in Payson, where today it is a museum.

Zane Grey went on to become a millionaire writer with many books and movies made from them.

He traveled the world before dying of heart failure  at his home in Altadena, California in 1939.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I know because of the many emails . . . well, one . . . I get asking about the owlets I photographed in the Home Depot about a year ago that you all want to know what's going on with our local bird life.

Well, I haven't been over to that Home Depot in awhile so I don't know if there is a new family this year or not.

But in keeping with this theme, I did photograph a house finch taking a wee sip at the bird bath this morning.

A much bigger bird, one of those Rufous Towhees also stopped by for a drink but your intrepid photographer was too slow/clumsy with the camera to get a picture of him.

I did catch a tiny Goldfinch a bit later taking a dip after his sip.

The goldfinches are very flighty (heh-heh) so it's hard to catch them with the camera and this one had his head and other yellow parts turned away from me and one wing flapping in the air so you might mistake him for some kind of weird sailboat.

You just have to take my word that he was a goldfinch until I can get lucky with the camera.

I put out the hummingbird feeder a few weeks ago and had visitors in less than a day.

It amazes me how they discover the feeder so quickly.

Are their memories really that good, do you think?

Meantime my old Mexican Macaw (that's a parrot to some people) patiently keeps an eye on everything.

In spite of his size the other birds don't seem concerned about him one little whit.